As a sewing contractor, I spend a lot of time sourcing for customers. Fabrics, trims, interlining, snaps, buttons, etc., etc., etc. For example, it’s taken me hours of traveling, shopping, calling and surfing the web over the past few months to find a lightweight wool in just the right shade of purple for the Masonic Temple costumes we’ve been working on. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the other costumes we’ve been creating for the Masons. All of the fabrics and trims in the photos came from the vendors listed below.
So, I thought, why not share some of my favorite sources with you to give you a leg up on your next soft goods manufacturing project?
For each vendor, I’ve listed the name, contact info, what they sell and some comments. Most of these suppliers will ship, some are local to CT where I work. Also, see this blog post on knowing your fabrics, this one on working with a sewing contractor, and this one on knowing your customer which will also help you grow your business.
The Sourcing District
Jay Arbetman, 708-386-8586, Chicago, IL, Instagram, wholesale only–Jay represents multiple textile sources including names like Kendor (bamboo/wool blend jersey!), and Oriole (bridal satin!) with just about every kind of fabric you could want at his fingertips. Because it’s wholesale, most vendors will have minimum yardage requirements. He recently located a polyester twill for me in a very hard to find color. Jay is very knowledgeable about the stock he represents and if he can’t get something, he’ll know someone who might be able to. Very wise, incredibly reliable; quick, attentive customer service!
Fine Fabrics Sales
Diana Muzzy, 312-953-5055, Chicago, IL, Instagram, wholesale only–Diana represents many sources including breathtaking specialty fabrics for bridal and evening wear, leather and silks plus a nice selection of fine quality and exotic trims. Because it’s wholesale, most vendors will have minimum yardage or quantity requirements. She just got back from Paris with a new line of trims that I can’t wait to see. For an added bonus, check her website for the new color forecast for Spring/Summer 2019 directly from Premiere Vision!
Fabric Wholesale Direct
(855) 464-6867, Farmingdale, NY, retail, lots of basic, low to moderately priced fabrics for soft goods manufacturing including apparel, event decor and home decor. Great selection of types of fabrics, (one fabric may have 30+ colors!), but not a lot of trims, notions or tools. No minimums, price breaks for buying larger quantities and free shipping on orders of over $75.
Conklin, NY, Instagram,1-800-654-2235 (open till 8pm weekdays), retail (but many items are only sold in large quantities) Back in the day, I worked for a company that was a source of supplies for tailors and seamstresses. Wawak reminds me of where I used to work because they sell everything that these professionals would need to manufacture or alter/repair clothing including bridal and men’s wear. Every kind of basic notion that you could want; sewing tools; threads; sewing machine parts, needles, and attachments; plus store supplies like garment bags and linings, interfacing, tons of zippers. They have lightning fast turnaround on orders so you’ll get your items quickly.
Gastonia, NC, 1-800-343-4542, wholesale only, Rowley is a source of materials to make home decor items such as window coverings, upholstery and throw pillows. It’s where I get my velcro, welt cord and zipper tape by the roll, the most amazing (and reasonably priced) down alternative pillow forms, They also sell blue dot paper for pattern making. Customer service is always polite and helpful.
Rocky Hill, CT, (860) 563-7647, retail, Instagram. Also located in Uncasville, CT, Affordable Fabrics is a useful source for quality apparel, home decor and quilting fabrics as long as you’re flexible. Since it’s near me, and most yardage is $2.99yd (they recently got in a group of specialty outdoor fabrics at $10.99yd), I often start sourcing there. However, because they sell remnants, sewing contractors can never be sure if they’ll have the material or the quantity you need. It’s helpful if you know how to burn test as none of the bolts have material content on them. They have a huge selection of home decor and special occasion fabrics which would be great for custom work or a small run of apparel. Their prices on notions, which they regularly have in stock, is the best around. Their stock is constantly changing and is featured on their Instagram account.
Osgoods Textile Company
Find their online retail site here, West Springfield, MA, (888) 674-6638, retail, Osgoods is a great source for remnants plus the quantity of materials is massive. Bolts may contain upwards of 20-40 yards and there are literally thousands of bolts of pretty much every material you can imagine plus some that are beyond imagination (silver painted burlap-like, lacey tech fabric!). Apparel fabrics include bridal, special occasion, outdoor, fine silks and wools. Home decor materials include those for windows, upholstery, and quilting. They also stock leather, vinyl, and trims for apparel and home decor, Prices are reasonable but vary widely depending on the type of fabric and content. Their ecommerce site seems comprehensive but I’ve never used it because their warehouse is only 45 minutes from me.
Judith M. Millinery Supply House
LaGrange, IN 260-499-4407, retail. I don’t often construct hats (although here’s a photo of two that I made employing materials from Judith M). However, I love architecture and therefore, love perusing the gallery on the Judith M. website, dreaming of how to translate architecture into clothing using their amazing stock of materials. It includes wire, ribbon, boning, horsehair, plastic tubing, and all sorts of really cool fabrics that can be shaped into wonderfully fanciful sculptures. I’ve only shopped Judith M once but they were very helpful and professional.
Quality Woven Labels
This is the company I order my labels from, not the cheapest but amazing quality. As the name states, my labels are woven, not printed. My logo has very fine details in it which I didn’t really expect to show, but they did! Customer service helped me fit my art work to their format. They do regular labels but also custom patches, even labels on leather and Tyvek. Quick turn around too.
And lastly, because part of our social enterprise mission is to reduce waste in all segments of our business, I went sourcing for environmentally safe packaging and found EcoEnclose . Instagram. I haven’t ordered anything from them yet but their friendly customer service did a great job answering my questions. They seem to have a big variety, offer custom branding and will send free samples (within reason).
Happy sourcing! Leave a comment with your favorite sources and I’ll add them to a future post.
Mary Ruth, Owner of United Sewing and Design has over 30 years experience in the manufacturing of products by sewing and is author of “Industry Sewing Construction Methods” http://amzn.to/2yMxMmk. Her focus is on design, entrepreneurship; social enterprise; the connections between the environment, the apparel industry, and manufacturing; and how owners can leverage artistic methods to benefit their business.